By Elise Viebeck - 01/05/15 11:35 AM EST
States have enacted 231 new restrictions on abortion since Republicans swept legislative elections in 2010, according to a new study released Monday.
The Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, found a dramatic spike in limitations on the procedure around the country between 2011 and 2014.
The number of new restrictions also dropped from 70 in 2013 to 26 in 2014 as a result of fewer state legislative days last year.
Researchers said the Republican-backed limits on abortion have "dramatically reshaped the landscape" for American women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
"In 2000, 13 states had four or five types of abortion restrictions in effect and so were considered hostile to abortion rights," the study stated.
"By 2014, 27 states had enough restrictions to be considered hostile; 18 of these can now be considered extremely hostile. The entire South is now considered hostile to abortion rights, and much of the South, along with much of the Midwest, is extremely hostile to abortion rights."
Supporters of the measures, including bans, buffer zones around abortion clinics, and counseling and waiting periods, argue they are essential to protecting fetuses and the health of pregnant women.